IDTechEx: 45 Million of 5G Small Cells to be Installed by 2031; Small Cell Forum 2021 Market Forecast

IDTechEx has recently released “5G Small Cells 2021-2031: Technologies, Markets, Forecast,” a market research and business intelligence report exploring the key technical and industry factors that are shaping the fast-growing small cell market.  The report forecasts that the overall number of 5G small cells will reach 45 million by 2031.

One of the challenges of mmWave (24–48 GHz) based 5G is signal attenuation (Another is the requirement for line of sight communications). That results in the signal propagation distance being much shorter compared to use of other frequencies in cellular networks such as 3G and 4G. Small cells are proposed to address this big challenge.

Deploying many small cells will also improve aggregate 5G bandwidth in dense urban area through frequency re-use.  Creating an ultra-dense cellular network by deploying more small cells plays a key role in 5G as it allows it to complement the macro cell network and therefore boosts data capacity.

Small cells can be categorized into three types: femtocells, picocells, and microcells, depending on their output power. Because of their smaller size compared to macro base stations, the material choices and the overall technology trend will be different from their macro infrastructure counterparts.

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As of mid-2021, the majority of the 5G commercial rollouts are still focused on enhanced mobile broadband. 5G network operators have mostly installed 5G macro base stations to provide networks with high capacity for consumers using mobile devices. However, the new use cases such as industrial IoT 4.0, cellular vehicle to everything (C-V2X), new entertainment experiences, and smart cities, are where the real innovations are occurring and the huge market potential lies. 5G small cells will play an essential role in supporting those industries to become fully digitalized and the potential realized.

IDTechEx’s analysis considers how the following variables evolve during the forecast period: the development and adoption rate of sub-6 GHz and mmWave in the world’s five regions, the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) for broadband and critical applications, 5G rollout potentials for enterprises, urban, and rural & remote purposes, and the utilization rate of different types of small cells for each scenario.

In this report, IDTechEx provides a comprehensive analysis on 5G small cells (both sub-6 GHz and mmWave) including technology benchmarking and supply chain landscape:
  • 5G small cells vendor landscape analysis
  • Supply chain and technology analysis on Radiofrequency (RF) components such as power amplifier and filters for 5G small cells
  • Choices of semiconductors for 5G small cells
  • Antenna-integrated package (AiP) solutions
  • EMI shielding
  • Thermal management for 5G small cells

The report offers insights into the global 5G small cells market for:

  • Companies that supply materials and components for 5G small cells
  • Companies that develop 5G small cells
  • Companies that invest in the 5G infrastructures
  • Companies that plan to step into 5G small cell business
  • Companies that develop digital solutions for industries

For more information on this report, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/5GSmallCells, or for the full portfolio of 5G research available from IDTechEx please visit www.IDTechEx.com/Research/5G.

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Separately, the Small Cell Forum’s market forecast is claimed to be the industry’s most comprehensive analysis of small cell deployments globally from now until 2026. The most important input to the forecast is a survey of the deployers of small cells, including 84 MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) and 33 other service providers such as private network operators and neutral hosts.

Key findings from the 2021 report include:

  • There is a rising number of industrial applications that require full 5G capabilities such as high availability, and these will accelerate adoption of 5G small cells, with a CAGR of 77% in 2019-2026.
  • Access to a wider variety of spectrum, with more flexible licensing, will be the most important enabler of enterprise small cell roll-out in the early 2020s. Deployments in shared spectrum will overtake those in licensed bands in 2025.
  • As small cells need to address increasingly diverse requirements from different industries and use cases, flexible, cloud-based architectures will become essential. Two-thirds of deployers expect to adopt small cell vRAN by 2025.
  • One driver of vRAN expansion will be open small cell architectures. These will account for 77% of new deployments in 2026. There will be strong support for SCF’s Split 6 in the enterprise and industrial environments, where it will adopted by 58% of deployers by 2024.
  • The trend for rising diversity of small cell deployers and business models will intensify as enterprise demand grows, and by 2026, over three-quarters of enterprise small cells will be deployed and operated by private network operators or neutral hosts.

References:

https://www.idtechex.com/en/research-report/5g-small-cells-2021-2031-technologies-markets-forecast/825

https://www.idtechex.com/en/research-article/45-million-of-5g-small-cells-will-be-installed-by-2031/24237

https://www.smallcellforum.org/

https://www.smallcellforum.org/scf-market-forecast/

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